These two summits are commonly walked together, allowing for a full day of fun for those mountain lovers. On a clear day the views south cover ‘Dingle Bay’ and the ‘Iveragh Peninsula’, while to the north ‘Loop Head’ can be spotted.
Start: Fybagh (on the Castlemaine/Annascaul Road)
Duration: Approximately 6hours and 30minutes
Grade: Generally good terrain but may be boggy in sections of descent.
Route: Walk west from the school at Fybagh to the minor crossroads and turn north for 500m to where the road is blocked by a gate. Go through this and continue on for 100m to the local water treatment centre. The road now becomes an unpaved track which should be followed up the mountain until the hiker can cut across east to the ridge-line. The rocky outcrop Black Rock (point 278m) is a good marker.
Contour northeast from here, crossing two river systems, to ascend Castle Hill, a prominent landmark on the road west towards Inch. Drop down north to a col before the climb up to the long east-facing arm of ‘Baurtregaum’ and a further, gentler ascent to its stony summit (3 hours and 15 minutes, 7km, 980m ascent). Descend southwest to point 706m before rising onto the narrow ridge towards ‘Caherconree’.
Keep on up the ridge and, when the ground levels, veer northwest to find the summit cairn of Caherconree( 4hours, 9km, 1100m ascent) On windy days, stay back from the edge over the cliffs on the north face of this dramatic peak.
Carry on down to the southwest to Caherconree fort. This is Irelands highest promontory fort. This a triangular shelf of land, bounded on two sides by cliffs and on the third side, by the remains of an Iron Age defensive wall, rising to three metres in places. One of several refuges on the Dingle Peninsula, at a height of over 600m, this would have been a last redoubt from invaders. On a clear day, its a pleasant walk down the southwest ridge, marked by small cairns, to the fort. In poor visibility, its better to take a bearing directly from the summit cairn. The fort wall provides shelter from the elements and is often used as a lunch spot. From the fort, descend south to the Col and follow the ridge for a kilometre to point 586m. Drop down south-eastwards, via point 355m, to cross the ‘Gortaleen River’ and meet the track taken on the way in to Black Rock. If river levels are high it may be best to avoid crossing, instead making your way directly down to the road.
History: Legend says that ‘Cú Roí Mac Dáire’ was a druid-king who plotted with ‘Cú Chulainn’ of Ulster to raid the Isle of Man and seize the beautiful ‘Bláthnaid’ daughter of its King.
The plan was accomplished and ‘Cú Roí’ wed the girl, but she only had eyes for ‘Cú Chulainn’. She smuggled him into the fort when Cú Roí and his men were away hunting, signalling to him by pouring milk down the’ Fionnglas’ stream, which drops down on the southwest towards ‘Bóthar na gCloch’. He slaughtered the hunting party as they returned and made off with Bláthnaid to ‘Glanteenassig’ where Cú Chulainn’s House is the name still given to a large pile of stones, rumoured to be a collapsed fort, overlooking Annascaul Lake. But their rapture was short-lived, one of ‘Cú Roís’ men survived and followed the lovers to their hideout. He bided his time and when he saw Bláthnaid come out alone, made for her, grabbed her and leaped off the precipice into the lake, killing them both.
This route was taken from Mountaineering Ireland ‘Irish peaks – A celebration of Irelands Highest Peaks’. Contributed by Gerard O’Sullivan, Tralee Mountaineering Club, UCCMC and Spartan Red Sox.